Rick Thomson is the “Nickname Originator.” Yes, he was the guy who gave Scott McNeal the nickname “Gus Macker.” It happened when they were both in the seventh grade. Thomson was one of the original driveway players, of course, and played in that famous first tournament in 1974. Thomson, a true original Macker character, made up stories over the years on how he came up with the nickname, including making up a fictitious Italian player named “Gustaf Makaroni” or something like that. Scott McNeal remembers Thomson was a Michigan State fan, and the basketball coach of the Spartans at the time was Gus Ganakas. Scott believes that name may have served as part of the inspiration.